Saturday, December 7, 2013

Chronology of Blogging Movement in Vietnam (updated 2013)


2003: Golden days for Talawas (talawas.de), a website founded in 2001 whose founder is the writer Pham Thi Hoai.

End 2003: iCMS, the software product that won the first prize in the Vietnam Intelligence Contest 2003, is found to commit piracy by copying and localizing an international open source software without tribute. The case leads to an ebullient discussion around the topic on Dương Vi Khoa’s Informatics Forum (ddth.com), attracting much attention of the IT community.

2004: On the same occasion, the Informatics Forum sets up box X-café, administered by YunaAdmirer, to discuss social issues. The box will later be expanded to other areas such as history, politics, domestic and foreign policy. Many members join the discussions, but at the same time, many others protest for two major reasons. First, political-socio issues go beyond the spectrum of attention of the forum. Second, sensitive topics discussed in box X-café may get ddth.com involved and closed down.

2005

2005: Yahoo! 360° came to Vietnam after officially launched on June 24th in the US.

September 13: Following Dương Vi Khoa’s decision to close box X-café, which unofficial sources attribute to an order by public security offices, old members of X-café open another, independent forum, X-cafévn.org. Its philosophy is “To respect the difference”, aimed at encouraging open dialogues on political-socio topics.

2006-2008

2006-2008: Yahoo! 360°'s boom years, the dawn of a whole new world of Internet media. Vietnamese net users write, photograph, share files, and get connected with each other. A generation of “net-writers” forms as fiction authors write chick-lit (chicken literature) including novel, short stories, feuilleton, and post their works to blogs everyday. Prominent figures included Trần Thu Trang, Trang Hạ, Hà Kin, Nick D… Most of them are women in their 20s, and most of them stay away from politics, only focusing on their chick-lit works.

Some bloggers try to increase page views by publishing titillation entries and photos, as well as contents related to celebrities: Cô Gái Đồ Long (The Dragon-killing Lady), Only You, Vàng Anh.

There are also a few political bloggers, but none of them are famous yet: Vàng Anh (mainly known for sex-related entries and thrillers), Người Buôn Gió (Wind Trader), Anh Ba Sàm (a former public security officer).

August 25, 2007: The Paracel Data Center (hoangsa.org) is founded.

Blogger Hà Kin launches her book, “New York Love Stories”, a typical “net fiction” that tells love stories of a Vietnamese young girl in New York City.

September 9, 2007: The Yahoo! 360° of Anh Ba Sàm is set up.

September 19, 2007: Điếu Cày establishes the Free Journalists Network (FJVN). Founders include Điếu Cày, Lê Xuân Lập, Huy Cường, Vũ Quốc Tú (aka. blogger Uyên Vũ), and Ngô Thanh Tú (blogger Thiên Sầu). Tạ Phong Tần (owner of the blog Công lý & Sự thật [Justice and Truth]), Phan Thanh Hải (aka. blogger AnhbaSG) join later. From September 2007 to October 2010, when AnhbaSG is detained, there are 421 articles published on this blog, of which 94 articles are written by members of FJVN, and 327 quoted from other sources such as VOA, RFA, the 8406 bloc, Dân Luận, Thông Luận, Người Việt Online, etc.

October 12, 2007: Sex scandal “Vàng Anh” (Vietnamese for canary or oriole) breaks out when a five-minute video tape filming sexual intercourse of Hoàng Thùy Linh, the teen star featuring the female protagonist in TV serial drama “Vàng Anh’s Diary”, is posted to Youtube and, before removed, spreads over Internet at a variety of webpages such as cafechieu, sex9x, etc.

On the evening of October 14th, a whole TV show is devoted by VTV3 to the filmmakers for their “apologies to audience.” On early October 16, another video tape whose length reaches 16 minutes is disseminated on web. On October 25th, four students are arrested for “disseminating debauched cultural products.”

Tắc Kè (Gecko) is the first blog to post the video tapes and “behind-the-curtain” stories related to their protagonists, including the son of a public security officer. Second to Tắc Kè is Vàng Anh, whose nick is named after the female protagonist in the serial drama “Vàng Anh’s Diary.” With their “philosophy” of blogging being “sex, politics and thrillers”, Tắc Kè and Vàng Anh are the two hot bloggers in the period 2007-2008.

Hanoi, Sunday Dec 16, 2007.
Image courtesy of BBC.
Sunday, December 9, 2007: First protests by bloggers in Hanoi and Saigon opposing China’s ratification of a plan to set up “Sansha City” to administer the Spratly and Paracel islands. These are also first people's demonstrations in the communist Vietnam. 

X-café is one of the forums that actively involve in reporting on these anti-China protests in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Its members are also present in these protests.

While the police may not arrest any protester during their rallies, repression begins right afterwards: All bloggers who prove to be influential” face harassment. 

Late 2007, journalist Huy Đức begins to publish his high-impact articles on the Sài Gòn Tiếp Thị (Saigon Marketing) newspaper and his personal blog, Osin, simultaneously.

2008

February 1: The first X-café magazine is introduced.

April 9: Members of “The Saigon party cell”, including many veteran members of X-café since its times on ddth.com, are summoned by public security officers for interrogation around their X-cafevn.org membership and their articles “defaming the Party and the State, creating a frisson of fear among the society.” They are forced to undertake that they will renounce X-cafevn.org.

April 19: Blogger Điếu Cày is arrested. He will later be sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison for “tax evasion”.

April 29: Youths protested at the Olympic Torch Relay in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The scope of the protests was rather small.

Early November: News about the “great project” of bauxite mining in Tây Nguyên (Central Highland of Vietnam) begins to spread on both mainstream media and in the blogosphere. Some intellectuals and pundits make the first petition urging a review of the whole project.

November 28: Admin Tqvn2004 publishes the declaration of “Goodbye to anti-communist extremists” on X-cafevn.org. The declaration is criticized by many veteran members of the forum. Consequently, it is removed and Tqvn2004 resigns himself from admin of X-cafevn.org.

2009

Calligraphy by Hà Sĩ Phu
January 14: VietNamNet publishes a letter from General Võ Nguyên Giáp to Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, dated January 5, regarding the Chinese bauxite mining project in the Central Highlands. He would subsequently send two more letters – one dated April 9, 2009, to the National Seminar on the Bauxite Mining Project, the other dated May 20, 2009, to the Politburo, National Assembly and Government. The degree of his alerts increased over time: from requesting for a review of the project, to advising not to conduct the project, to finally suggesting that the entire project, including any test phases, be canceled.

January 22: Dân Luận is founded in pursuit of a civil press, whose guideline is observing “neutrality, rationality, and pluralism.” Dân Luận shares the same server with X-cafevn.org.

March: A new political Yahoo! 360° blog, “Change We Need”, becomes famous by directly attacking the bauxite mining project.

This blog provided readers with unverifiable information about the government and its relations with Chinese counterparts. “The Tay Nguyen bauxite mining project: a grave the Vietnamese communist regime digs for itself,” it said.

April 9: The first and only national conference on the bauxite mining project is held at Melía Hotel in Hanoi and lasts for one day. Though the opponents outnumber the supporters, the final decision cannot be reversed.

May 24: Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, CEO of the One-Connection IT company, is arrested.

Mid-2009: Professor Nguyễn Huệ Chi, elementary school teacher Phạm Toàn, and Dr. Nguyễn Thế Hùng set up a website critical of the bauxite mining project (http://bauxitevn.info). It was hacked and subjected to denial of service attacks hundreds of times.

June 11: Lawyer/Activist Cù Huy Hà Vũ filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng for signing the Decision no. 167/2007 in approval of the Tây Nguyên bauxite mining project.

June 13: Lawyer Lê Công Định is arrested. It turned out that Thức and Định were behind “Change We Need.”

June 18: Blog Free Lê Công Định (freelecongdinh.wordpress.com) is introduced.

July 13: Yahoo! 360° is closed down permanently. The community of bloggers in Vietnam splits up. Some automatically move to Yahoo! 360° Plus. Others choose Wordpress, Blogger, Multiply, Weblog, etc.

Ba Sam blog's logo
Following the closedown of Yahoo! 360°, Facebook soon emerges as the most popular social network. Anh Ba Sàm’s blog becomes a hot “meeting point” for those who pay attention to politics. He calls his blog “Thông Tấn Xã Vỉa Hè” or “The Sidewalk News Agency”, mocking Vietnam News Agency. (Sidewalk news is Vietnamese slang for “gossip”, “canards” or “unverifiable information” that people tell each other when they are fooling away their time at sidewalk cafes).

Many new blogs on politics were created in 2009-2010 as a result of the closing of Yahoo! 360°: Quê Choa (http://quechoa.info), Trương Duy Nhất (http://truongduynhat.vn), Nguyễn Xuân Diện, etc. Quê Choa is the blog of Nguyễn Quang Lập, a fiction writer and scriptwriter, whose humourous, even vulgar style was very popular with audience. Trương Duy Nhất is a mainstream reporter, who declared that he quit professional journalism to focus only on blogging as a free man. Nguyễn Xuân Diện, Ph.D., is a researcher on Vietnam’s ca trù (a Vietnamese folk song genre). Huy Đức's blog Osin is attacked and closed down as of February 5, 2010.

August 27: Người Buôn Gió is detained. Phạm Đoan Trang is detained on the following day, and then Mẹ Nấm a few days later. The three were released respectively after a nine-day detention.

Around September: Facebook is blocked for the first time. Facebookers pass on to each other the guidelines of how to bypass firewall.

Late December: The second blockade of Facebook, which is much more fierce.

2010

January 20: X-cafevn.org and Dân Luận are subjected to denial of service attacks for the first time, coinciding with the court of four political dissidents: Lê Công Định, Nguyễn Tiến Trung, Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức and Lê Thăng Long, accused of “carrying out activities to overthrow the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the Penal Code.

February 28: Hacker group Sinh Tử Lệnh penetrates X-cafevn.org and Dân Luận, stealing private registrations of members and posting them to web at sinhtulenh.org. While this group has previously attacked and damaged “left-sided” blogs and websites, this is the first time they appear under the alias Sinh Tử Lệnh (the Command of Life and Death).

August 23: Danlambao is founded. Danlambao means Dân Làm Báo, “citizens do journalism,” as opposed to state-owned media.

At the same time, Freelecongdinh (the forerunner of Danlambao), Thư viện Hà Sĩ Phu, Thông Luận, Tiền Vệ, X-Cafe, Talawas are all attacked by hackers to become inaccessible.

October 18: Blogger AnhbaSG (jurist Phan Thanh Hải) is arrested, just one day before Điếu Cày completes his prison term. Subsequently Điếu Cày remains in detention under the new charge of “spreading propaganda against the state.” One year later, the third active member of FJVN, blogger Tạ Phong Tần, is arrested on September 5, 2011.

October 26: “Social blogger” Cô Gái Đồ Long, also known as journalist Lê Nguyễn Hương Trà, is arrested for having posted an entry “defaming” a public security officer, General Nguyễn Khánh Toàn, and accused of committing libel.

November 3: Talawas closes down after nine years of operation.

November 5: Legal scholar/ activist Cù Huy Hà Vũ is arrested in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City in an apparent ambush by policemen. The arrest triggers a war for public opinion between the official media and alternative media begins. Such battles would continue in all other events of the democracy-human rights movements in the following years which revolve around demonstrations, victims of land grabs, trials against dissidents and bloggers, etc.

2011

April 4: First trial of Cù Huy Hà Vũ. Four months later, on August 2nd, an appeal court will confirm Vũ's sentence of 7 years imprisonment for “disseminating anti-state propaganda”.

Photo by Lân Thắng
April 26: Nguyễn Anh Tuấn (born 1990), a student at the National Academy of Public Administration, sends a “confession” to the Supreme People's Procuratorate, requesting to be charged with “conducting propaganda against the state” as was Cù Huy Hà Vũ, for he has also stored “documents with contents against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

His request is not resolved and the authorities fail to issue any official decision on the case, but Tuấn was summoned for interrogations and investigation. On May 19, he publishes an open letter, saying “it's a tragedy for nations where good wills is only one-sided  from the people.”

May 26: Chinese maritime surveillance vessels cut seismic exploration cables of PetroVietnam’s Bình Minh 2 (Dawn 2) vessel in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. A burst of anger spreads on the Internet, including the blogosphere and Facebook. The Nhật Ký Yêu Nước (Dairy of Patriotism, a Facebook page created on April 12, 2010, officially launched on April 16, 2010) called for protests against China.

A protest rally in Hanoi on August 14, 2011. Source unknown.


Sunday, June 5: Protests broke out in both Hanoi and Saigon. Nguyễn Xuân Diện and Anh Ba Sàm (now known as Ba Sàm) emerge as prominent rallying points for protesters. Both blogs are regularly hacked and attacked, arguably by both Vietnamese internet police (red guards) as well as Chinese hackers. Whereas Ba Sàm just quoted sources from both mainstream and unmainstream media, adding some satiric comments, Nguyễn Xuân Diện seemed to have “overstepped” by posting even the calls for protests, advertising the place and time to rally. It is said this may be part of the reason why Diện has always been in trouble with policemen and in danger of arrest anytime, while Ba Sàm was apparently safe.

Once-famous bloggers Hà Kin, Trang Hạ, Trần Thu Trang, Nick D… are not much heard of now. They keep writing, but there have also been many new faces in chick-lit; thus it looks more difficult now for them to win the hearts of readers. Moreover, when Vietnam is undergoing economic recession, books on such subjects as imaginary romance, home and family, etc. would possibly become less attractive. (This does not necessarily mean that audience will rush to political news and stories instead).

June 9: Chinese fishing boats damaged seismic exploration cables of Viking II, another PetroVietnam vessel.

Police beat up
blogger Phan Nguyên.
June 12: Protests in Ho Chi Minh City are suppressed brutally. Photos circulate on Internet showing plainclothes policemen knocking down young protesters on the streets of Saigon.

At the same time, police suppression escalates in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Protesters are intimidated, harassed and isolated. Some are dismissed from their job under police pressure. State-owned media and cyber troops launch massive campaigns against protesters who claim they just peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression.

June 19: Third Sunday of protests in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This was the last “bloggers' protest” in Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi, protests continued each Sunday until August 21st, when 47 people were arrested, some of them accused of “disrupting public order” (similar to “inciting social disorder” in China).

August 18: The e-book “The F-Generation” is published online at Dan Lam Bao, Ba Sam, etc. as a collection of writings by Vietnamese bloggers on the three anti-China protest rallies in early summer.

August 23: X-cafevn.org and Dân Luận are hacked for the second time by Sinh Tử Lệnh. All data are removed.

October 30: No-U football club is established. “Sharing a sense of patriotism and anger towards China's aggressive acts, suffering from the same police intimidation and suppression, the protesters find themselves united. Furthermore, football is a sport that can most easily bring people together. The No-U football club is founded in this context.

Image courtesy of
blog Thanhvdgt1
In the spirit of fighting against the irrational ox-tongue line claimed by China in the Southeast Asian sea dispute, and claiming Vietnamese sovereignty over Paracel and Spratly Islands, the football club has also done many other good deeds, including conducting charity tours in support of indigent people and children in remote areas.” (blogger Nguyễn Tường Thụy).

November 17: Mr. Hoàng Hữu Phước, deputy for Ho Chi Minh City, speaks before the National Assembly, “The majority of people will not support a law on protests and demonstrations because protests and demonstrations, by nature, are vulnerable and may lead to abuses, which can easily lead to chaos.” This position and many other opinions and writings on his personal blog earn Phước the title of “Crazy Deputy” given by bloggers.

November 27: A group of bloggers in Hanoi hold a small demonstration to support the PM and National Assembly in promulgating the law on protests and demonstrations. All of them are arrested and kept in custody in Lộc Hà rehabilitation camp until the end of the day. In Sai Gon, blogger Bùi Thị Minh Hằng is arrested and taken to Hanoi after trying to protest against the arrest of her Hanoi companions, then detained in the Thanh Hà education camp, Vĩnh Phúc province, until April 29, 2012, for alleged “disturbing public order.”

On the same day, Sai Gon No-U football club is founded.

2012

January 1: Writer Phạm Thị Hoài, who used to run Talawas, sets up her new blog, Pro & Contra.

Thursday, January 5: The Tiên Lãng shootout breaks out in the suburb of Hải Phòng when two fish farmers, Đoàn Văn Vươn and his younger brother Đoàn Văn Quý, using improvised mines and muskets, resist an eviction by local policemen. Mainstream media and blog community are both driven into the incidence, carrying news, analyses and commentaries.

Tuesday, April 24: A notorious land grab takes place in the district of Văn Giang, on the outskirts of Hưng Yên province. Bloggers go first in reporting news about it, followed by official media. Photos and video clips of the eviction spread virally on the Internet.

Tuesday, May 29: Quan Làm Báo (quanlambao.blogspot.com) is introduced, its first entry being “The Love Story of Tâm and Mạnh.”

June 5: The second edition of “The F-Generation” is published, “reflecting the moods and thoughts experienced by Vietnamese bloggers in each of their “online” and “offline” protests from 2007 to 2011, coupled with tensions in Vietnam-China relations. Among the authors, one is still in detention on this date – jurist Phan Thanh Hải, aka. blogger AnhbaSG; and one was deceased – artist and blogger Đinh Vũ Hoàng Nguyên (aka. Lão Thầy Bói Già - the Old Fortune-teller)


Book cover: The F-Generation, 2012
Photos by Mai Kỳ (front cover) - Lân Thắng (back cover)

Saturday, June 23: China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) offers for joint cooperation with foreign companies nine offshore blocks which are located in the seas bounded by the notorious “ox tongue line”, well within Vietnam’s exclusive zone and 200-nautical mile continental shelf.

Wednesday, June 27: Vietnam National Petroleum Group (PetroVietnam) holds press conference to protest CNOOC and China’s bidding.

Sunday, July 1: Anti-China protests outbreak in Hanoi and Saigon, and will continue on Sundays of July 8, July 22 and August 5, 2012.

Monday, August 20: Nguyễn Đức Kiên, known as “bầu Kiên” (Vietnamese for “manager Kiên”), a prominent tycoon and soccer manager, founder of the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), is detained. The arrest, which has previously been mentioned on the blog Quan Làm Báo, entails a deluge of information on this blog, which seems to be profoundly haunted by conspiracy theory.

September 24: Trial against Điếu Cày, Tạ Phong Tần and AnhbaSG takes place in Sai Gon. The indictment says, “the crime that the three accused committed is especially serious, continuous, enduring, obviously seen, and has badly affected national security as well as the image of the Vietnamese state on international arena.”

The judges allege Điếu Cày and Tạ Phong Tần to have “stubbornly denied their alleged acts”, while AnhbaSG “has admitted and expressed remorse for his crime, and has requested clemency”. The result is very harsh sentences imposed upon Điếu Cày and Tạ Phong Tần: 12 and 10 years of imprisonment respectively. Anhba SG receives a 4-year sentence in prison.

October 14: Nguyễn Phương Uyên (born 1992), a female student at the Food Industry College, is arrested by the Ho Chi Minh City police at her dormitory and transferred to Long An police. The reason for her arrest is not announced until ten days later, that is her “conducting propaganda against the state” under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

December 12: Journalist Huy Đức, also known as blogger Osin, releases on Amazon the first volume, “Liberation”, of his book “The Winning Side”. Printed version of the book is released a few weeks afterwards in the United States. “The Winning Side” incites a harsh controversy among different viewpoints on Vietnam's modern history. It is considered both as “the best Vietnamese history book since 1975” and “a biased look in history”. At the same time, the author's Facebook page becomes a battlefield between ideologies.

The second volume, “Authority”, is released on January 13, 2013.

December 27: Human rights lawyer Lê Quốc Quân, director of Vietnam Solution Ltd., Co., is arrested for alleged “tax evasion”.

December 28: The appeal court hears the case of three bloggers Điếu Cày, Tạ Phong Tần, AnhbaSG, and affirms the sentences. As at the trial court, dozens of people are harassed, arrested and held in detention for coming near the courthouse.

2013

January 9: Head of the Hanoi Party Committee's Propaganda Department, Mr. Hồ Quang Lợi, a former journalist, in a meeting to review media and propaganda activities in the previous year, confirms the existence of the so-called rumourmongers, or public opinion shapers, and “button-pressing journalists”. In Hanoi alone, the number of rumourmongers amounts to 900.  

January 19: 72 intellectuals sign on “the Petition for the 1992 Constitution Amendment”, calling for separation of power, for the creation of a constitutional court, and for the new Constitution to be in accordance with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They also call on the military to pledge loyalty to the nation and the people rather than the Vietnamese Communist Party as stipulated in Article 70 of the Draft prepared by the Committee for the Revision Draft of the 1992 Constitution.

March 31: Three students at the Ho Chi Minh City Law University, including Phạm Lê Vương Các, Nguyễn Trang Nhung, Bùi Quang Viễn, issue the “Justice for Đoàn Văn Vươn” Declaration, to persuade and encourage the tribunal to be courageous, independent and impartial in implementing its duty.

April 2: Trial against the fish farmers Đoàn Văn Vươn and Đoàn Văn Quý takes place in Hải Phòng. On April 5th, each of them receive a five-year sentence of imprisonment under charge with “murder”. Nobody died when these farmers fought against the police force coming to confiscate their land.

April 18: The Free Citizens issues the notice of “Human Rights Gatherings”, which are outdoor social gatherings to discuss human rights, to be held on Sunday, May 5, at Nghĩa Đô Park (Hanoi), April 30th Park (Ho Chi Minh City) và Bạch Đằng Park (Nha Trang).

May 5: At the invitation by the Free Citizens group, some people in Hanoi, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City go to public parks to participate in “Human Rights Social Gatherings”. In Hanoi, the picnic turns to a rally of right activists and land-lost farmers (known in Vietnamese as “dân oan”, or victims of miscarriage of justice). Many people are confined by local police in their homes as if they were under house arrest. In Ho Chi Minh City, the police launch brutal crackdowns on bloggers who they think are active participants.

May 16: Nguyễn Phương Uyên and Đinh Nguyên Kha stand on trial court in Long An. Uyên is sentenced six years of imprisonment, Kha eight years, for “conducting propaganda against the state”, violating Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

May 26: Journalist and blogger Trương Duy Nhất, owner of the blog “A Different Viewpoint”, is arrested and charged with “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organisations and/or citizens” as stipulated in Articles 258 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

June 13: Journalist and blogger Phạm Viết Đào is arrested and charged with violation of Article 258.

June 15: Blogger Đinh Nhật Uy, the elder brother of Đinh Nguyên Kha, is arrested also under Article 258.

July 15: The PM signs Decree 72 on “the management, provision and usage of Internet services and online information”, which strictly prohibits the use of Internet to “oppose the State...; threaten the national security, social order, and safety”, and bans personal websites from providing general information. The Decree takes effect as of September 1, 2013.

July 18: A group of bloggers, calling themselves as “The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers”, release Statement 258, urging the government to amend law to demonstrate its UNHRC candidacy commitment, especially repealing Article 258 of the Penal Code. Afterwards, these bloggers meet with a series of international organizations and diplomat missions to hand in Statement 258, including the OHCHR, HRW, CPJ, embassies of the United States, Australia, Sweden, Germany, and the EU-Delegation in Vietnam.

August 13: Police stage an ambush on an evening English class of a group of young people in Hanoi. The young people, including bloggers and students, are escorted to the local police station for arbitrary interrogation, their belongings confiscated without reason. Although they are released subsequently at 3 a.m., when they go to the police station the next morning to claim back for the confiscated mobile phones and laptops, they are beaten seriously. Blogger Phạm Ngọc Thắng is hit so that his eardrums were perforated.

August 16: Appeal is heard in the case against Nguyễn Phương Uyên and Đinh Nguyên Kha for “conducting propaganda against the state.” Uyên is given a suspended three-year sentence, and Kha a four-year sentence of imprisonment. Three months later, on November 29, Uyên is expelled from school.

September 23: 130 Vietnamese people inside and outside of the country sign and release the Declaration on Implementing Civil and Political Rights in Vietnam, and, at the same time, launch a website named “Civil Society Forum”.

October 2: Human rights lawyer Lê Quốc Quân appears before trial court for “tax evasion”. He receives a sentence of 30 months in prison. His company, Vietnam Solution Co., Ltd. is ordered to pay a fine of 1.2 billion dong (equivalent to 56,800 USD).

October 29: Đinh Nhật Uy is put on trial court and given a suspended 15-month sentence.

November 13: The Vietnamese government signs Decree 174 on “administrative sanctions in the area of postal, telecommunication, IT and radio frequency”, imposing a fine of between 70,000,000 and 100,000,000 dong (approximately between 3300 USD and 4700 USD) on those who commit any of a great many acts, including “conducting propaganda against the state”, but not to the extent of penal liability examination.

November 28: The Vietnamese National Assembly vote on adopting the amendments of the 1992 Constitution as drafted by the ruling Communist Party. What is worth noting is that 95% of its deputies are members of the Communist Party; the remaining five percentage are either non-partisan or in the awaiting list to be sworn in as communists.


December 10: The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers's celebrations of the International Human Rights Day in Ho Chi Minh City are brutally suppressed. Many bloggers are nearly put under house arrest so that they cannot join the events. Around ten bloggers, including women and their children, are battered by police and “outrageous masses”, or those hired by the authorities to “maintain social order”. Bloggers attending the celebrations are even attacked by “dirty bombs” of pungent shrimp sauce.

Two days before, on December 8, celebrations by bloggers in Hanoi are also harassed, with state-sponsored “social order defenders” grabbing bloggers' belongings, pressing burnt cigarettes against balloons to blow them up, and destroying human rights materials.